While the Sox engaged in such frivolous matters as playing baseball games in late October, the Yanks got down to business. Word out of Tampa is that the Yanks plan to meet face-to-face with A-Rod very soon. The new H&H Bagel management team (by the way, aren’t Hank and Hal both nicknames for Henry? One wonders if George thought of himself as Richard II when doling out the names. The Steinbrenner clan loves motivation. Did he name them both Prince Hal to see which one would become King Henry IV first?) sent a clear message to Boras and A-Rod through the Torre negotiations. That message: We are willing to alienate our fanbase, piss off the media, and generally misread human nature when talking contracts. On the other side, Scott Boras has sent a clear message to Yanks management and the world: A-Rod literally shits gold and farts diamonds. His moods determine market swings. The resource countries will fight over in the next world war will not be oil or water. It will be the body and soul of A-Rod. The starting price is your first-born!
After some thought this weekend, I am now truly scared of this
management team and what could happen this off-season. Immediately after the news of Torre’s departure, I was
inclined to defend Hank and Hal if only because Steve Phillips was
among the people ripping them to shreds. There is a rule among humans.
Steve Phillips is always wrong. BUT…then I heard the Torre press
conference and his interview with Mike and Christopher. And then Hank lashed out at Joe, and suddenly I experienced an epiphany.
Back in my high school days, I loved the Knicks in the same way I love the Yanks now. It is then remarkable that I don’t even feel like a fair-weather fan when I say today that I watch about three games a year. You see, James Dolan runs the show these days. I won’t get into the blow-by-blow history of the decline of the Knicks. Here’s the abridged version. Charles Dolan got old and couldn’t run the organization anymore. He handed the reigns over to his son, James, who is an idiotic spoiled brat. If you want to read in greater depth about just how badly the younger Dolan does things at the Garden, check out Emma Span’s piece for the New York Press.
Of course, the comparison between the Steinbrenner boys and Jimmy is superficial. Yes, they were both raised rich and probably insulated from the everyday world. James Dolan seems to have been adversely affected by such a life. He runs the Knicks very much like a spoiled brat would: with little regard for the paying customer and what others think. He throws money at problems in the hopes that they will go away. The Knicks have been an embarassment for several years now, and what’s mystifying is that James Dolan seems to think his plan is working. At the very least, he seems not to care that it’s not. One has to wonder if the Steinbrenner kids will also run their team with little regard for outside opinion. How much will they willing to surround themselves with people who disagree with them? How much will they be willing to learn from the inevitable mistakes they and any management team will make? Hank’s public response to Torre’s insult claim does not portend good things in this regard. If he felt like setting the record straight about his and Hal’s intentions, then fine. But what is discouraging is that, in his response, he chose to attack Joe. Surely, he knows that he won’t win a popularity contest against Torre? Or maybe he doesn’t, which is a bit troubling.
Meanwhile, the next test for Hank and Hal will be the negotiation with A-Rod and Boras. Based on their early work, one wonders if the meeting will go something like this:
Hank: Before we start discussing numbers, Scott, my brother and I just wanted to let A-Rod know that we’re thinking along the lines of a pay-cut. The good news is that the contract will be filled with incentives and he’ll be able to be the highest paid player in baseball again if we win the world series in the years 2008 to 2012.
(A-Rod and Boras walk out. A gold turd remains on the seat cushion where Rodriguez was sitting.)